Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Capella University to shelf new online music school: A Capella University

The world's first online a cappella music school will be shut down at the conclusion of the fall semester. Low enrollment and complaints of "jam sessions feeling way too distant" are behind the closure.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ba-Bye week: NFL to move bye week to the off-season

"[The NFL is] not getting rid of the bye week," said one league source. "We're just moving it to April or May... which will be much better for television networks. This will go a long way in preventing head injuries to the network execs banging their heads against their desks over ratings concerns."
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Schuylkill River Boardwalk: By the Numbers

The Schuylkill River Boardwalk opened on Thursday, stretching north from the South Street Bridge to Locust Street. The impressive, nearly two-fifths-mile long walkway is the latest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail, part of the region's rapidly growing trail network. Below is a look at the $18M "floating multi-use trail" by the numbers:

--5 inches: The depth of river water covering the new walkway at each high tide--a design element intended to "help clean the decking daily."

--1,794 ft: The height--due to gentle turns--of the 2,000 ft-long boardwalk if stood on its end vertically.

--8: The number of construction workers experiencing sharp abdominal pain after surfacing from spending hours deep below the river waterline in the foundation caissons. The inexplicable agony would later be named caissons disease, or, the bends. The project manager, who also experienced severe discomfort, oversaw much of the construction from a top-floor apartment in Locust on the Park, which overlooks the boardwalk site.

--27,349,112: The number of scores over the length of the concrete surface...made using the end of a half-inch diameter oak tree branch found along the banks of the river.

--9 minutes: Time required for the trail solar-powered drawbridge to fully open giving boaters access to the portion of the river cut off by the boardwalk. Watercraft up to fifteen feet wide can pass through the opening.

--17: Hardhats washed away during a major May 2014 flood.

--16: Hardhats washed ashore Cape May, NJ, beaches.

--1: Hardhat washed ashore Stone Harbor, NJ beach.

--857 ft: The length of the moving sidewalk portion of the boardwalk. Recycled from PHL International Airport, the moving sidewalk--which will change direction every ten minutes--catapults runners, walkers, and cyclists past those on the adjacent static concrete.

--11 inches: Maximum depth of ice covering the tidal Schuylkill River during the harsh 2014 winter. The ice acted as a staging area, supporting cranes, cement trucks, and concrete construction supplies through early April.

--0 seconds: Time required to water the flora in each of the stainless steel hanging planters mounted on the non-trail side of the galvanized metal railings.

--45 degrees: Thirteen degrees above freezing. Also, the slope of the South Street Bridge access ramp.

--450,000 psi: Pressure each overlook bench is designed to withstand.

--2: number of CSX-controlled access gates at opposite ends of the boardwalk. The gates will automatically close "whenever a train is within fifty miles" or "whenever CSX feels like it."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jefferson Station: An emotional renaming

On September 4, 2014, Market East Station officially became Jefferson Station, named for the hospital a few blocks to the south. Below are a few reactions by local residents to the renaming:

--"Well, in addition to being a prominent colonial-era physician, [Thomas Jefferson] was a huge rail enthusiast--so it makes a lot of sense."

--"Seriously, get the &*$# out of here? No more Market East? Well I'll be damned!"

--"I'm not much of a transit person. I thought you needed directions somewhere."

--"They're really going to spend all that money changing all the signs, maps, and getting the conductors to say, 'Next stop, Jefferson Station?' I don't know."

--"[Thomas] Jefferson gave a lot of speeches from the caboose of trains. I think the renaming is a great thing and a great honor. Oh, and please bring back the caboose, SEPTA. I want to stare at your caboose, SEPTA."

--"Just when I thought SEPTA couldn't do anything dumber and idiotic, they go and pull a stunt like this...And totally redeem themselves."

--"It's a mistake. Total mistake. Jefferson was the guy behind the North and South having different rail gauges. He masterminded the whole thing."

--"He was the third president, and Market East is the third downtown station when headed east. So..."

--"I always knew something like this would happen."

--"Instead of a Quiet Car, there should be a Flu Shot Car. Oh, yes, I said that."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Washington Avenue Green: Millennials threaten to boycott new park until 'at least three' pop-up beer gardens installed

Philadelphia--Over the weekend, several hundred Millennials converged on Washington Avenue Green (Pier 53), the new Delaware River waterfront park, to protest the greenspace's lack of a permanent or pop-up beer garden. The peaceful group of 20- and 30-somethings showed up carrying high tables, picnic tables, ping pong tables, large beer glasses, fire pits, corn hole, recycled wood, and kegs of beer...lots of kegs. From these listed parts the "protesters," with surprisingly high-quality design and craftsmanship, constructed a "rogue beer garden" on the park's southern shoreline to demonstrate its potential to "be one with nature but with a malted beverage." The Green, which opened in mid August and was once home to the nation's first navy yard, and later the main immigration station for the city, was planned as a wetlands park and a place for visitors to take in the expansive views of the tidal waterway and distant city skyline. "We wanted to show that while this is a great place to enjoy and observe the natural wonders of where the river meets the shore, this should be done with a great local or regional beer in hand," said Albert Corrigan, vice president of Millennials in Philly (MIP), a group that advocates for "great beer gardens and even better corn hole" in every part of the city.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NFL: Blocking sled to get start for Eagles on Sunday

Above: The Philadelphia Eagles blocking sled practices with the first team after getting the call to start versus the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The National Football League will allow the Eagles to use a three-person blocking sled after losing three starting offensive linemen in the first three weeks of the season. Head coach Chip Kelly says he expects the sled to have no problems keeping up with his high-tempo offense. "We feel very comfortable and confident that the sled will seamlessly fit into our scheme. The sled has never missed a practice. I know the guys have had the sled over for barbecues and out at the bars," said Kelly. These same players will also have to position the sled at the line of scrimmage before the start of each play during the game.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Report: Eagles team bus caught in Indy's Monument Circle for hours

The veteran driver was unable to merge in any direction during countless laps around the busy traffic circle at the center of town.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Only three separate spans to be ready for Schuylkill River Boardwalk grand opening

Revelers celebrating the "opening" of the 2,000 ft walkway will be shuttled to and between the non-adjacent spans by boat. Bicycles WILL be allowed to make the trek.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tip Top Nails Station? Market East naming rights came down to Jefferson, local nail salon

Market East Station will be renamed Jefferson Station after the hospital located only two blocks away from the busy Center City regional rail stop. Other strong candidates for naming rights included: Wells Fargo ATM, Four Seasons Nail, Le Nails, and Lady Foot Locker.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

9,999 Villages? One village decides to 'test waters, head off on own'

Fair trade handmade gift shop frantically searching for replacement village to keep name intact. "We just think it's time we did our own thing," said a village representative. "It was an amicable separation...sort of."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Developers vague about how residents will access condos atop billboard

Above: New plans for 205 Race Street include "several" residential units high atop a controversial billboard across 2nd Street in the shadows of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. This would be the first residential billboard project in the United States and only the fourth in the world. When asked how residents would access the billboard condominium units, the developer replied, "Very carefully. Like, we mean, very carefully." If the billboard access ladder is to act as the main entryway for residents--a logical assumption--city officials would like to see rungs placed every six to eight inches for improved ascent and descent safety. "Having more rungs on the pole ladder will make moving furniture into the building much more pleasant," said one official.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts kiosk opens inside Center City Dunkin' Donuts

Philadelphia--A Dunkin' Donuts inside a Dunkin' Donuts? This is exactly what a java-seeking patron will find on the 1600 block of JFK Blvd in the city's bustling office district. The new downtown doughnut kiosk is the nation's first located within a Dunkin' Donuts store--most are found in airports and malls. The Massachusetts based coffee chain is expanding rapidly in the Philadelphia area, quadrupling the number of locations over the past fifteen years from a scant 25,000 in 2000 to over 100,000 by early 2014. (The company would not comment on the number of new DDs opened since January, but the city estimates it at around 15,000--for a total of 115,000.) There are 48,236 DDs in Center City alone. "We wanted to expand without expanding," said Dale Hightower, chief financial officer at Dunkin' Donuts. "Does that make sense? We can expand and offer lower franchising fees without growing our real estate holdings or rents. This is very innovative stuff." The kiosks will be independently owned and operated from the host Dunkin' Donuts store. The company also acknowledged there are times during the business day when coffee/doughnut demand is so overwhelming that a supplemental kiosk will ease the strain on host store employees. After the first week of business some customers reported feeling confused by the new stand emblazoned with the bright DD logo. "I walked in and the people at the kiosk were waving me toward them, but so too were the employees at the counter of the store. It was very ... odd," said Sarah Beckner of East Falls. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Outdoor moviegoers miss ending of 'Up' after helium-filled, inflatable movie screen drifts into the night sky

"It was only supposed to rise about ten feet off the ground," said a movie screen rental employee. "It was a publicity stunt that went very wrong. Please keep your eyes out for a large, inflatable movie screen, last spotted floating southwest."

Friday, July 18, 2014

World Cup: New Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system debuts just in time for all-important weekend after major soccer tournament ends

"It was a nail-biter," said Adao Juan Felipe, Brazil's deputy of transit infrastructure. "We really pushed, we didn't think having the BRT completed in time for the weekend after the World Cup ended was feasible. It's a credit to all involved."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Urine from fearful thrillseekers provides needed water for world's tallest water slide

"We don't need to pump water to the top in order for the rafts to glide down the slide," said Kansas City, MO, water park official Tom Loughlin. "The urination caused from the fear and anticipation of the ride provides enough water for the inflated crafts to smoothly negotiate the steep descent. It's been a fabulous, and, honestly, unexpected cost saver."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

World Cup: FIFA pressuring ESPN to release percentage of Brazilian rainforest razed to construct eloborate Rio set

Some scientists estimate, simply by viewing the many broadcasts, that the sports network felled up to 35% of the country's jungle canopy to provide the materials for the "Beautiful Set."